Archive for Indianapolis Colts

Nothing Came Easy For The Big Easy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 8, 2010 by Travis Green

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The New Orleans area anxiously awaited Superbowl 44, and were treated to pre-game coverage full of the horrific images and stories of what Hurricane Katrina had done to their town just four and a half years earlier.

It was something I am sure many fans were tired of seeing and hearing about, yes it is the job of the media to build up a story, but the city of New Orleans were here to watch some football, not agonize over their past.

Since 1967 the celebrated past of the Saints had been very limited, the teams shining moments included their first ever game starting with 94 yard opening kickoff return for a touchdown by John Gilliam, but the Saints went on to lose that one. Another moment known to most Saints fans was the 63 yard field goal kicked in the final seconds against the Detroit Lions on November 8, 1970, Tom Dempsey’s field goal defeated Detroit Lions by a score of 19–17.

They started the decade with a bang by making the playoffs and defeating the St. Louis Rams, but then went through a drought that was interrupted by a natural disaster.

2006 the team was destined to do it, as they were back home in New Orleans after being displaced for a season. They lost to the Chicago Bears, who went on to lose to the Colts in the Superbowl, in the NFC Championship game after an incredible season.

A few more not so charming seasons and the Saints were still trying to fight off all the New Orleans “Aints” jokes.

Then it was the year 2009. The team was in place and ready to make its run, but no one would have ever thought it would come to this. The team got off to a quick 13-0 start and were hearing whispers of an undefeated season. As always everyone said the only thing on their minds was the a Superbowl victory.

The team struggled down the stretch but turned it back up in time for the playoffs, demolishing the Arizona Cardinals and ending Kurt Warner’s career. Then went brought on the Vikings looking to end Brett Favre’s career. They may have done that as well, defeating the Vikes and putting a hurtin’ on ole’ number 4.

Now it was that time, time to wash away all the nightmares, all the anguish, and start over just as they did in 2006.

That task would be tough, as one of the best QB’s of all-time stood in the way of the Saints.

Super Bowl 44 was predicted to be a high scoring contest with the best two offenses in the NFL to face off. The game was talk about ad nauseam.

Which team would make the first mistake?

How much would Peyton Manning’s big game experience pay off?

Can the Saints defense shutdown the Colts offense and vice-versa?

All the questions were asked, and so was one last one who you got?

That question was a little easier to give an answer to then who ya rootin’ for?

Many of the critics as well as fans I spoke with thought the Colts would take it by a slim margin. And as I spoke about on my radio show, if there was to be a blowout it would be the Colts over the Saints.

The Colts were the favorites. But the Saints were the sentimental favorites. This made it hard to choose, because you don’t like to go for a favorite, but I am not a fan of going for the team every one else is pulling for.

The game was about to begin as we went around the room asking each individual, who you pullin’ for? The Colts led the way with 6 votes to 2 Saints vote. I was one of the two.

The game was a tough one to root for or against anyone because there were not very many hate-able figures on the field, sure you have Jeremy Shockey of the Siants, and there is always someone that is not a fan of Manning. But nothing that stands out as something to root against that team for.

So here we are food on the table drink in hand, and the coin flip happens….the Saints win and decide to receive, something a little strange since we usually see the team that wins defer to the second half.

Weird start to a game that had plenty of strange moments. As the first quarter went on the Colts looked unstoppable and the Saints look like players just happy to be there.

The 2nd quarter came and went with nothing too dramatic except a couple huge field goals from the young kicker Garrett Hartley.

Both teams went into half with a little confidence, the Colts put some nice drives together and the Saints limited the damage, but both team had quite a bit of ball possession trying to limit the touches for each team.

Drew Brees had quite a first half, with a little over 164 yards while Manning impressed as always but try to use the run game as well.

The surprise on-side kick to start the second half caught both the Colts and the crowd off guard as they still seem to be a little lackadaisical, after being put to sleep by the Who at halftime.

The start of the second was something that had been planned through out the week, this team had confidence in their team and were not willing to give the ball to Manning and let them make the devastating blow. So instead they dealt that blow.

“We felt during the week it was more than a 60 or 70 percent chance,” Payton said. “We felt not [only] good, we felt real good.”

The team had that plan from the time they won the toss and chose to receive until the moment the ball was set on the tee. The moment the ball settled in the hands of Chris Reis, the game changed, the offense drove down scoring the go-ahead touchdown. But Manning and the Colts would answer with a long five minute 22 second drive that put them back on top 17-13. The quarters scoring ended on a field goal of 47 yards by Hartley.

The Colts could not successfully extend their lead as Matt Stover missed wide left from 51 yards.

The Saints once again would take up almost five minutes of the clock on a methodical drive that ended in a short two yard pass from Brees to Shockey.

The aftermath of the touchdown was another one that made was disputed and talk about at length as Lance Moore seemed to have bobbled and dropped the 2 point conversion before getting the ball over the pylon. But a challenge overturned the call and put the Saints up by seven with 5:42 left, more than enough time for Peyton and the lethal Colts offense.

Peyton started the drive with first down after first down as he began to cruise down field to put the game tying points up on the board, and shift all the momentum to his teams side of the field.

After going no huddle it was 2nd and five from the 31 of the Saints, as Manning dropped back and threw left to Reggie Wayne, when Tracy Porter stepped up and picked off Manning and the Colts dream to win the Super Bowl.

The moment it happened you immediately got flash backs of what this defense had done to potential Hall of Famer’s Kurt Warner and Brett Favre. Now the same team had done the same thing to another surefire Hall of Famer.

A year that was destined for the Colts, a year that Peyton Manning was at his best, the year Peyton would go down as the Best Quarterback ever, and everything was set up for his success story and it ended just like that.

A game that seemed almost boring at times, especially during halftime, had 2 huge plays in them and they were both made by the Saints.

It’s just a true testament to the saying “defense wins championship” and this New Orleans Saints defense made plays when needed, winning the Saints the Lombardi trophy, and leaving only one question, when will the Who make a song titled “Who Dat?”

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